Wednesday, October 8, 2008


It is an unfortunate truth that in today’s world, people are still stereotyped by first impressions. Our outer appearance, false assumptions, misconceptions, misinformation or personal biases are all factors that lead to stereotyping of an individual. To confound this unfortunate truth is that if you ride a motorcycle you are instantly classified as a law breaker.

Maybe I have been living under an idyllic belief that our melting pot has finally blended into a comfortable stew, where we all compliment one another. So I am dismayed this season to discover I am living in a fantasy world. When traveling the roadways this season, I have seen more blue lights in my rear view mirror than at any time in my entire driving history.

Let’s look at the modes of transportation I use. I drive one minivan, and one motorcycle. During commuting when I am in the van, it is “keep up” or suffer the consequences. Are there patrols for morning and evening commute? Certainly! Do I ever see blues because I am in a pack of cars sometimes exceeding the speed limit? Never! So why is it, that when I am on my motorcycle, following the same commuters, or even Sunday drivers, I am the one who is stopped? It would seem that the riding gear and helmet disguise things, as once they realize they’ve stopped grandma or even grandma and grandpa, we are waved on our way. It could also be that once they view our spotless driving record combined with our age, it would not look favorable for them in a court of law.

I am not an aggressive rider by any means. When I began riding, I made promises to my father. I intend to keep my promises and should anything happen, it would not be by my hand. His 80 year old heart just could not take it. Couple that with two beautiful and cherished grandchildren that I have plans to watch grow and you have a mixture for a careful and courteous rider.

There are other ways that motorcyclists are discriminated against. In the UK, some gas stations have posted signs that require riders to remove their helmets before fueling. It does not require hooded or hat wearing drivers to do the same. Then there is the health insurance industry, or even some road side assistance programs that discriminate against riders.

If you feel your own small voice does not carry enough weight in society, I suggest you check out the American Motorcyclist Association. Follow the link in the side bar to Rights. Here you can check up on issues and legislation, state motorcycle laws and even check out resources at your disposal. Consider becoming a member and let your voice be heard. As for me, I would just like to be treated when riding my motorcycle the same way I’m treated in my Mommy Minivan.

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